w202 C43 vs C36

Discussion in 'AMG Lounge' started by simon1966, Sep 8, 2019.

  1. simon1966

    simon1966 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Hi All

    I have always hankered after a w202 C43, but it has never really suited my needs until maybe now....!? As much as I have always liked them it has not really been big enough or practical enough for me as a daily driver. Thing is I now wouldn't need it as a daily. My much loved E55K estate has been perfect for my needs, but in the past 4 years or so it has covered less than 1500 miles each year as I have a new w447 Vito 119 crew van that I use as my daily vehicle, so space is no longer a priority.

    So I have been quietly thinking about a C43 again or of course the obvious alternative the C36. Up to now I have never really given much thought to the C36 as I'm not sure it had much if anything to offer over the 43. I have always preferred the more muscular and purposeful look of the 43 over the 36, but there is something also very appealing about the simple lines of the 36. Then of course there's the engines!! I have always liked a straight 6 and the lovely howl they make, albeit I have not owned a car with a straight 6 for about 25 years. But.... Clearly I love a V8, especially an M113!!!

    It would be good to hear from anyone that has owned either and preferably have or had both. Am I missing something with the C36? Funny at the moment there seems to be a few nice looking low mileage examples of C36's available (shame they're silver as I would fancy a colour change albeit not the main consideration), but not same choice in 43's which is a little surprising. That said I guess that changes all the time.

    Then there's also the saloon or estate debate. I think I have always preferred the look of the saloons over estates with the w202's. The complete opposite for me with the 211's where to me there is just something special about the wagon.

    This would be a long term car for me so although I am not looking as an investment it would be good to get views on which version is likely to hold value better. I tend to keep cars for a while, as long as I'm happy with it of course. I have had my E55 for over 9 years and it has easily been the best car I have owned. I just love it and even now I catch myself looking at reflections in shopfronts as I drive by:D

    My beloved E55K would need go if I decide to go for a 202, so it would need to be something special and a keeper. I have never even driven or viewed one so maybe I would be totally underwhelmed by a 202? I don't mean in outright pace, as clearly I wouldn't expect either to compete on that front with my wagon. Sometimes you just build things up too much in your mind and the reality is a disappointment. A bit like when I went out thinking I wanted to buy an Audi C5 RS6 avant as a replacement for my Jag S Type R as I needed an estate. I always liked them, but after viewing a nice example and driving it, I was left a bit flat. That wasn't helped by me viewing and driving a poor example of an E55K estate a few hours later. After driving the E55K, the Audi was no longer a consideration, even though the merc was A bit of a dog.

    There is nothing newer than my E55K that floats my boat. Ideally I'd go older still and bigger but a 560sec or a 500e are both out of reach now:wallbash:
     
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  2. robparker

    robparker Active Member

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    I've had my C43 estate for 2.5 years (currently tentatively looking for an E55k estate). And whilst I've owned this car my friend had a C36.
    He took me out in it once and to be honest I was completely underwhelmed by it, even though on paper they are similar. The 36 felt like you had to thrash the hell out of it to get the speed rather than the 43 doing it effortlessly.
    I'm also biased as I love the V8 noise and the scream of a straight-six doesn't really do it for me.
    A 43 is also very simple to maintain with nothing really that goes wrong, unlike the 36 engine which does have a couple of expensive weak points.
    I'm sure there will be some 36 supporters to come and balance the argument though!
     
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  3. robparker

    robparker Active Member

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    Also to add, I did own a 124 E36 estate for a few months which also did nothing for me!
     
  4. cjab98

    cjab98 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    The C43 was my first Mercedes so I'm probably biased towards it :D.
    For me it was a no brainer compared to the C36, back in the day a relatively compact car with a V8 was pretty unique. AMG's version of the 4.3l M113 was never used in any other model. Also it was the only one available in estate.

    I also had an E55K (a Brabus K8), the supercharged version was much more vocal and of course more brutal. The V8 in the C43 is pretty quiet although it sings beautifully and (power aside) I preferred the character of the naturally aspirated engine.
     
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  5. SPX

    SPX MB Club Veteran

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    I should be able to help Simon; I’ve owned two E55K’s, three C43’s and one C36 - I owned both models at one point too for a couple of months - I’ll post more info later when I’ve got more time but one thing I will say now is that one has a proper AMG engine, the other doesn’t.
     
  6. robparker

    robparker Active Member

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    They all have regular MB engines that have been fettled.
     
  7. robparker

    robparker Active Member

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  8. SPX

    SPX MB Club Veteran

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    Right - here goes...

    I’ve owned three C43’s and one C36 and contrary to the amounts owned, if I had to buy one now for “fun”, it would be a C36 without a moments hesitation (I sold it to Terry Gates who still owns it)

    The C43 exhaust sound is awesome and wins that comparison quite easily but every other area, in my opinion, goes to the C36 - the engine (the last of the “proper” AMG’s which were bored out to 3.6 whereas the ‘43 is the lump straight out of the 430 with a 30bhp tune) is an absolute peach and suits the size of the car perfectly, plus, with the variable valve timing, it likes to be revved but still has enough pull to not feel too “light” from lowdown.

    The C43 feels very nose-heavy compared to the C36, all three I owned were the same so it wasn’t a one-off, and it really took some controlling if you were driving swiftly on the twisty stuff whereas the C36 felt more responsive and sharper. Also, if you do go for the C36 try both the 4speed and 5speed gearboxes because, again, it alters the feeling of the car - the 5 speed more cultured, the 4 speed with (obviously) longer gearing is more aggression-inducing.

    The other big positive of the C43 is you’ve got the choice of estate or saloon whereas the C36 only saloon.

    In summary, the C36 is more of a follow on from the 190 Cosworth, the C43 was more about what was to come for AMG’s if the future - shoehorn a wonderful sounding V8 in a car that’s probably too small and point and squirt!

    Some old photos:
    C43
    [​IMG]

    C36
    [​IMG]

    Both together:

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. OP
    OP
    simon1966

    simon1966 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the input guys. Great pics Lee thanks. Love both of them, but the 43 is:thumb:. After seeing your pics Lee, I think I will have to reconsider my view of preferring a different colour. After all AMG's just look right in Silver:D
     
  10. OP
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    simon1966

    simon1966 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Are the wheels bigger on that 43 Lee?
     
  11. SPX

    SPX MB Club Veteran

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    Yes mate, 18” - they look good but completely alters the ride in a negative way.

    I don’t think I’ve ever known a car ride (pro rata) so harsh with only 1” extra diameter.

    I put a video on YouTube of the C43 exhaust, I’ll see if I can find it and post it here.
     
  12. SPX

    SPX MB Club Veteran

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    Lucky you, I do two!




     
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  13. OP
    OP
    simon1966

    simon1966 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Love it. Familiar M113 sound.

    The 18's do look great. So fitting 19" BBS LM's would be a definite no no then!!
     
  14. SPX

    SPX MB Club Veteran

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    I’m sure they’ll be fine as long as you just park it on your drive and look at it!
     
  15. KillerHERTZ

    KillerHERTZ Administrator Staff Member

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    C36 is 276 BHP which by todays standards is slow, yes the car is lighter than new models but dont go expecting it to a rapid car.
     
  16. Notwen

    Notwen Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I have owned my C36 for around 4 years now, the C43/55 since earlier this year.
    Chalk and cheese, really depending on what you are looking for.

    Though I have a long history of V8 engine cars, I prefer the C36 as a package.
    It looks more subtle, a proper Jekyll & Hyde car, it will bimble around like a C280, with just a murmer of a 6cyl burble. Kick it on the motorway and it gathers pace, silky smooth.

    The C43, I added earlier this year as prices were creeping and I needed a V8 back in my life.
    Granted the 340/350ish from the E55 engine will make it more eager than a C43, but the torque of the V8 (and the noise) is just grin inducing.

    Totally agree with SPX on driving styles.

    If you can wait 4 weeks, the October issue of Modern Classics pitches the C36, C43 and C43/55 against each other...
    (still an embargo on the professional pictures, so a phone pic will do for now)

    [​IMG]20190502_105904 by Notwens, on Flickr
     
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  17. OP
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    simon1966

    simon1966 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Great input thanks. I'm definitely in no rush and it would take the right car to pry me away from my E55K Wagon. I really need to find a few decent looking cars and go and view them.
     
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  18. OP
    OP
    simon1966

    simon1966 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I'm not expecting either to feel rapid tbh Karl. I know they will not compare with my current car or new machinery. Lots of modern 2.0 petrol engines produce more power and are probably quicker. I don't care about that.
     
  19. poormansporsche

    poormansporsche Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    C43AMG and Notwen like this.
  20. Sattler

    Sattler Member

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    Hi all, I notice from the link to the estate on Ebay that there are wheel arch extensions fitted, presumably to take into account of the 18s. I have staggered 18s fitted to my W202 Sport and could do with a set of these wheel arch extensions as my rears are just sitting proud of the arches. Any idea where to pick these up from ?

    Many Thanks

    Andrew
     

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